Gaming in the New Century
Today there are over forty-six million Xbox Live and PS3 accounts for online gaming (Xbox.com/live). With these accounts people all over the world log in to do the same thing: accomplish a common goal. Teams are randomly chosen or clans are formed, and the shooting begins. The goal isn’t always, “kill the other team.” Sometimes it’s to capture a flag, build a castle, bomb a base, and so much more. Most of us just want that epic win. Well, today we are building something out of our gamers that we didn’t think possible. Video games have created Super Empowered Hopeful Individuals (SEHI).
These SEHI are people who believe they are individually capable of changing the world.Alan Gladstone came up with the 10,000 hour theory which states that, “If an individual devotes 10,000 hours to studying and perfecting one thing, they would become virtuosos at it.” In America, the average child will spend 10,000 hours playing in a virtual game world by the age of 21. We are building virtuosos, but at what?
The average kid in America will also spend 10,080 hours at school, from 5th grade till graduation as long as they have perfect attendance. So we have created a parallel track of education without realizing it also. Children in America today are getting a traditional education as well as a virtual education. So what are video games teaching our children to be? Jane McGonigal believes they are teaching them these four things:
-Urgent Optimism, which also can be seen as extreme self motivation. These people are so motivated to achieve their goal, they will usually not stop until it is achieved. This is seen in the virtual world, as well as the real world. If a gamer loses a level we do not stop playing the game forever after just one try. We will try again and again until we pass it. The same can be said for a college math student. If the person is a gamer, it is believed that they will try harder and more often to accomplish a seemingly impossible task.
-Blissful Productivity. Gamers are historically viewed as slackers or lazy. However we have seen a change in this idea as the new generation comes forth. These gamers are happier working hard as an individual or as a team to accomplish a goal. We are more likely to get depressed and lonely if we are not productive in some way. Gamers feel productive in every match we play due to the high level of achievements available to us.
–Epic meaning. In general, people like to be attached to awe inspiring things. Some examples would be people trying to get in on a photo op with a famous person, or trying to say they are, “with the band”. In the virtual world of gaming we are attached to awe inspiring missions and the seemingly impossible every time we play a game. We get the epic win feeling every day. We are attached to that epic win.
–Weaving Social Fabric: since we spend so much time with so many different people from around the world, as gamers we can weave an amazing social fabric. We get encouragement from others that boosts our self esteem. Friendships are formed from thousands of miles away. We have friends in every country and from every walk of life. By having this as a resource we have access to a huge database of information from a cultural perspective. We talk to each other about our problems, we have deep meaningful conversations that allow us to form bonds with others like us. Advice is given and accepted. It’s a beautiful fabric.
For now it is perfectly normal for us to be spending so much time in a virtual world because we get the instant feedback. Economist, Edward Castronova stated, “We are witnessing what amounts to no less than a mass exodus to virtual worlds and online game environments.” The next generation of gamers is expected to be no less than one billion. We will have essentially created two generations amounting to 6.5 billion people who are virtuosos at video games, having also created Super Empowered Hopeful Individuals to lead our new century.
Castronova, Edward The Economist
Gladstone, Alan The 10,000 hour virtuoso
TEDTALKS, McGonigal, Jane Gaming can make a better world